Objective: This paper reviews and evaluates two recent epidemiologic studies focused on pesticides, and in particular, paraquat as a cause of PD. Both studies are derived primarily from the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). A review and evaluation is also provided on the AHS and several additional studies of paraquat and PD.
Methods: The methods used to design and conduct the studies and analyze the data are described and evaluated.
Results: Studies were inadequately designed and often underpowered with very few exposed individuals. They were not population-based, failed to distinguish incident from prevalent cases, relied on multiple comparisons, and may have reported results selectively. The results across the studies are inconsistent.
Conclusions: The inherent difficulties of studying Parkinson's disease in relation to paraquat or other pesticides are well illustrated by these studies. A conclusion regarding these relationships cannot be reached based on the current literature. Further research with higher methodological standards is needed to reach a definitive conclusion.
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